Coronavirus pandemic forces changes in Chicagoland Veterans Day ceremonies

Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

With the nation grappling with another surge in COVID-19 cases, the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt almost every aspect of life, including how we publicly celebrate the veterans who served our country.

While many celebrations have been canceled, many places in Chicagoland have found alternate ways to honor America’s service members.

The city of Chicago traditionally hosts a Veterans Day ceremony at Soldier Field. This year, the city will observe Veterans Day with a virtual ceremony that will air on the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events YouTube channel and the Chicago mayor’s office Facebook page, city officials said.

The ceremony will be recorded in the Grand Army of the Republic Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Victory Monument. Like Chicago, the city of Aurora will also be broadcasting a virtual remembrance event on the city’s Facebook page.

Although there will not be a large ceremony at Soldier Field, the state’s largest war memorial, there will be an abbreviated observance that will include a memorial wreathe laying.

Lutheran Home, a senior living community in Arlington Heights, will host a Veterans Day car parade at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Led by Arlington Heights police, the caravan of vehicles will drive through and around the community’s 84-acre property.

Lutheran Home usually hosts a Veterans Day community breakfast and was determined to find a way to honor veterans despite the pandemic, said Linda Smith, spokeswoman for the living community.

In place of an in-person Veterans Day ceremony, DuPage County will provide a virtual gathering place to celebrate veterans.

“Although we cannot gather in-person, it’s still important that we recognize those brave men and women who answered the call of service to their country,” Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman, said in a news release.

“We hope many of our residents can create posts so that we may all share in these heartfelt tributes to our military veterans.”

Through a portal located on DuPage County’s website, people can upload a photo, the name of a veteran and a “thank you” message.

Other suburban military organizations, including the Palatine American Legion Post 690 and American Legion Post 974 in Franklin Park, will be hosting outside Veterans Day programs.

“We will remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their nation’s cause, defend the freedom of mankind and preserve our precious American heritage,” Palatine’s Post Commander Paul Clausell said in a release.

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